I won't make fun of Michigan football for practically giving away tickets to keep its 100,000-plus attendance streak alive. The team's crummy, Saturday's opponent is Minnesota, and even a storied program has to hustle sometimes. But I will make fun of Michigan football for being so sensitive that it totally reversed course and claimed it never approved the ticket giveaway in the first place.
Photos started making the rounds yesterday of displays at two convenience stores in the student union: with the purchase of two bottles of coke, students would get two tickets to Saturday's game, each with a face value of $75.
Good deal, right? Students who wouldn't otherwise have gone to the game now have tickets. And Michigan gets a stronger chance of drawing more than 100,000 fans to the Big House, a streak that spans 254 games and 39 years. Everybody wins. Except this is college football, and it runs on the potent fuel of schadenfreude, and a school will do anything to avoid giving its rivals something to laugh about.
So Michigan backed away from the promotion last night, claiming it was unauthorized.
"Coke is a great partner of ours and had purchased a limited block of tickets for the Minnesota game for a Coke retail activation aimed at Michigan students," the spokesman said. "Due to a miscommunication in the approval process, this promotion should not have run as-is."
That's not the strongest denial? "We sold a bunch of tickets to Coke for them to give out as a promotion. But it totally wasn't this promotion, because this one makes us look desperate."
Michigan did say that all tickets given away with Coke products would be honored. Which is convenient, because Michigan announced that only after the promotion sold out.